Using apps to provide whole language learning has added a new dimension to intervention with children in the digital age.  Most, but not all of these apps were released in 2014. They form part of my basic ‘app-box.

The Expert YappGuru team are revealing their top 10 apps for 2014. You can find  my expert list below. To find more expert reviews from the team, click here

In no particular order, here are my top 10 Apps for language & literacy learning in 2014.


1. Toontastic 


Developed by Launchpad Toys,  Toontastic  teaches narrative techniques  by using a structured  ‘story arc’

This includes:

  • Setup/Setting
  • Conflict/Initiating Event
  • Challenge/Problem
  • Climax
  • Resolution.

Users can then choose or create their own settings and characters. They then move these characters around the page while speaking the dialogue. I have used this app with children from about 5 years old all the way through to senior school.

 2.  TeleStory  


Recently released, TeleStory is a great addition to the Launchpad Toys family. It allows students to film and broadcast their own TV shows using digital costumes and real-time augmented reality settings and effects. The structured scenes are really great for children who have difficulty with story grammar and language.

The ability to do as many ‘retakes’ as needed, is practice for language, fluency and presentation skills.

You can read a more about using Toontastic and Telestory here

3. Book Creator $4.99


Seeing the joy as children watch their books come to life, warms my heart. heart-smiley

Book Creator allows you to create your own beautiful iBooks, right on the iPad. They can be read in iBooks, sent to friends and family and submitted to the iBook Store.

Books can be as complex or as simple as required and the following features are available:

* Quickly add pictures from the Photos app, or grab them from the web, then move, resize and rotate them with your fingers.
* Edit text using the onscreen keyboard, and apply rich formatting to make it look great.
* Choose from all of the iPad’s fonts – over 50 to use.
* Import video and music, and record speech within the app.
* Draw and write in your books with the freehand pen tools.
* Layout your book exactly as you want it with guidelines and snap positioning.
* A quick tap and you’re reading your book in iBooks!
* Export as a movie and upload to the web.

Book creator can even be used to teach core vocabulary. You can read about it here

4. My PlayHome $3.99


My PlayHome, My Play Home Stores  ($2.99) and the newly released My PlayHome School  ($2.99), is the ultimate virtual doll house. The characters eat, sleep, shower, brush their teeth, go to the store, and go to school.

It is a great way to work on pronouns, verbs, adjectives and imaginative play.  Making the characters do incongruous things is a great way to initiate a play sequence. The kids get to jump on the sofa, mom jumps on the trampoline, and dad can go to school.   🙂 I love that all three apps are linked and real life sequences can be role – played.

For some more ideas on using this app, you can look here

5. Toca Boca $2.99


The Toca Boca apps have always been a favorite of mine for open ended play sequences, vocabulary and language. They are great value for money and every now and then they go free.

I particularly like

Toca Hair Salon, Toca Hair Salon 2, and Toca Hair Salon Me

Toca Tea Party

Toca Tailor

Toca Kitchen and I know Toca Kitchen 2 which is due for release on 18 December  is going to be awesome.

6. Real Vocabulary Pro $29.99


The Real Vocabulary Pro app by Virtual Speech Center, is a comprehensive and flexible language app to assist children build their vocabulary.  The app targets receptive and expressive vocabulary.

It addresses antonyms, synonyms, definitions, multiple meanings and idioms.

There is a free lite version of this app which will give you a limited number of examples of each exercise. This can be dowloaded by clicking  here

You can read my full review of this app here

7.  Auditory Memory Ride $19.99


This is a comprehensive app to work on Auditory Memory. Different time delays as well as background noise make this a fantastic app for working on auditory memory.

The app addresses the following aspects of auditory memory.

  • Number Recall
  • Recognition: Words and Sentences
  • Recall: Words and Sentences
  • Recognition: Details
  • Recall: Details
  • Paragraphs

A full review of this app can be found here

8. Fun with Verbs and Sentences $15.99

Fun with verbs

This app is developed to elicit early language development and I’ve really enjoyed the versatility of using this app with a variety of children with different language levels.

The following sentence structures can be elicited:

  • Verb
  • Subject + Verb
  • Subject + Verb + Object
  • Subject + Verb + Prepositional Phrase
  • Random

Subject choices can be limited to using the pronouns he/she or using the a determiner (the) + noun

The children really enjoy the animations and  listening to their voice recording of the sentence after the animation is played. A full review of this app can be found  here

9. Letter Sounds – Reading Doctor $23.99

reading doctor

Difficulty with grapheme (letter) – phoneme (sound) correspondence is one of the difficulties that significantly affect the ability to learn to read and spell because there is no relationship between the way letters look and the way they are sounded out.

Letter sounds 1 and Letter Sounds 2 use the strategy of sound repetition  in a pin-ball like game, to teach children to associate letters and letter patterns with the sounds they make. There are a variety of  cues which are gradually faded away until the student is able to recognize the letters independently.

An in depth review of this app can be found here

10. Touch Chat                                               Speak For Yourself


TouchChat and Speak for Yourself are  full-featured communication solutions for individuals who have difficulty using their natural voice. There is no single communication system that is right for everyone  and both Touch Chat with Word Power and Speak For Yourself, cover a very broad spectrum of users.

Touch Chat has numerous fantastic features that can be customized  for  individuals who have significant motor difficulties.

Speak for Yourself is my other “go to” AAC app. It is easy to navigate, requires a maximum of 2 taps to get to a word, it has a word search feature and  a ‘babble’ option which allows individuals to explore language.

 ‘Appy Holidays 🙂 

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